4.14.2010

On "Thinking Too Much"

If you are reading this, chances are that you are an intelligent individual who is capable of using his/her own mind. The odds are good, then, that you've heard these words, or some variation thereof, before:

"You think too much!"

Maybe someone said this, when you were indecisive or depressed for some reason. Possibly, the accusation came from yourself! This phrase, common as it is, has never been explained. It is merely tossed out as a reason for mental suffering. But we (and myself included, until very recently) have taken it at face value, and likely temporarily shut off our brains in agreement.

I'm writing today to say, NO! As Gala would say, stop the madness!!
There is absolutely no such thing as thinking too much.

Then how on earth, you ask, does one resolve these issues? When else can we do when nothing seems to make sense anymore?

The answer is not easy. It is not a magical sentence that will immediately solve all of your problems. But it can take you to incredible places if you let it.

The real source of mental suffering is thinking in the wrong ways.

I honestly believe what makes us go around in circles, hitting dead ends, and hindering action, is thinking ineffectively. This may be thinking negatively, or simply in focusing on the wrong things (more on this later).

See, for many years I myself complained of "thinking too much." I heard it from a million people around me, and consequentially I'd beat myself up for doing so, too. But about a year ago, I changed my philosophy. And ever since, I have reached entire new levels of enlightenment regarding my purpose in life, and my level of achievement has by no means dropped- in fact, I am more confident than ever in my ability to act in the future.

It is very tempting to turn away from the matter altogether. It is super easy to say "whatever, I'll just think about it later" (thanks, Scarlett!) It often takes great courage to admit the mental path we're driving down is wrong. It takes even more courage to actively pursue a different way of thinking. But the rewards you will reap are endless.

Of course, there are times when deadlines and actions won't allow as much leisure for thinking. I'm known among my friends for fat to-do lists. But all that is simply a matter of doing what you need to do. Every effective thought you have in the meantime will inform your actions positively, and will actually allow you to create greater works and carry out greater actions in the future.

This is by no means simple, and I can testify that such self-actualization is very, very difficult. But it is far more rewarding than to say "I'm thinking too much," every time on the brink of a mental block.

The process to figure out the "best" way of thinking for ourselves can be complex, and differs for everyone. There is no way I can write a post on what way is best for you, because only you can figure that out. But the next time you're about to throw your mind out the window, it might be helpful to consider the following:

1) Don't be afraid. Your mind can be crazy sometimes, but it is more helpful than you know. The human brain has practically singlehandedly solved the world's problems to date. Sure, there are lots of remaining ones, including the ones in your own life. But what makes them so different? The possibilities for solving them are endless, but I can promise not a single one involves fear of thinking.

2) Be positive. Negative thoughts are overwhelming, and complicate situations. Judge for yourself- Judy spends an hour thinking about how incapable she is of taking action, and Anna, confronted with the same situation, spends 15 minutes convincing herself that she can do it, then takes the other 45 to think through what she is going to do. Who is more effective?

3) What is the real problem? Sometimes, when we're angry or stuck, it's because we're focused on something we cannot control, like someone else's opinion or what the possible consequences of our action may be. These often get in the way of the bigger picture. As difficult as it might be initially, if you make it a point to think directly about the most important issues at hand, you'll find that it's much easier to come up with a solution.

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(This was inspired by an article from The Positivity Blog, which I really respect and have been subscribing to for months. The latest piece of writing, however, dealt with how to "Stop Thinking So Much," and since this is really a subject that I am very passionate about, I figured it was time to put it into words.)

So please give me YOUR thoughts! There really is a reason I put this at the end of nearly every entry, you know :P

I know most blogs feed on comments like candy, but I am so interested in your individual way of thinking. It's both complicated and simple to explain, but I am genuine when I say that such motivation is one of my reasons for working and living!)

Love,
Tee

3 comments:

Alex said...

I get told this all the time, I do get lost in overthinking things and become paranoid, muddled and frozen. You've spoken very well, thank you for this and for the things to consider list!

Tee said...

Sorry for the late reply, Alex! You're very welcome & I'm glad you found the post relevant to your life!

Flappability said...

i love you this is awesome. i get this all the time as well.

you are a brilliant owner of a brilliant mind